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Burglar from last summer’s spree pleads guilty

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Jonathan Banks could face up to 15 years in state prison

ALBION – One of the four people charged with a rash of burglaries last summer in Albion and Medina pleaded guilty today to second-degree burglary.

Jonathan Banks could be sentenced to as much as 15 years in state prison on Aug. 25. However, as part of a plea deal today, he can withdraw his guilty plea if the sentence exceeds 10 years.

Banks, 21, is suspected in 32 break-ins burglaries in August and September, with crimes committed in Albion, Medina, Oakfield and Lockport.

He has been in Niagara County Jail. His attorney Mark Deal asked that bail be reduced to $10,000 for Banks, who Deal said may be given youthful offender status.

Banks also is recently married with family in Albion and Medina, and isn’t a flight risk, Deal said.

Orleans County Court Judge James Punch refused to set bail that low. He put it at $150,000.

“This is quite frankly a disturbing crime spree that he went on,” the judge said in court today.

Banks and three other men from Orleans County were arrested and charged with the burglaries in December. Banks was arrested by Lockport police in September. After his arrest, there weren’t additional burglaries.

Banks admitted to one of the burglaries today. He said he broke into one of the Sandy Creek apartments in the town of Gaines on Aug. 13. He entered through a window and took a television. He acted alone, Banks told the court.

Banks faced 10 counts of second-degree burglary, one count of attempted burglary and attempted robbery in the second degree, six counts of grand larceny, seven counts of petit larceny, three counts of attempted petit larceny, and four counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief.

As part of the plea deal today, his sentence in Niagara County would be added to the Orleans sentence if the two together do not exceed 10 years. Banks faces a minimum sentence of 3 ½ years in Orleans. If he gets that, he could face up to 6 ½ years from Niagara.

If he is sentenced to 10 years by Judge Punch, the Niagara sentence would be concurrent or at the same time as the sentence from the Orleans court.

He also faces a fine of double the value of items he stole in the burglaries or the fine could be set as high as $5,000.